Best Disney World Restaurants for First Time Disney Visitors

Everyday we receive lots of mail from you, our awesome DFB readers, asking for restaurant suggestions and recommendations. And while we certainly have our favorites, we know that you do, too!

So when a Disney first-time visitor recently asked what restaurants we would recommend for their upcoming trip, we couldn’t think of a better panel of experts to ask than YOU!

When I put the question out on the Disney Food Blog Facebook page, I was overwhelmed by the huge and immediate response that I got!

Let’s take a look at your recommendations for the restaurants first timers must experience on that inaugural Walt Disney World trip!

If you have other thoughts or ideas — or, better yet, stories of your favorite restaurants during a first-time visit — please share them with all of us in the comments section! More suggestions are always better!

Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

When it comes to first time Disney dining, the winning restaurant recommendation is, hands down, Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Many of you agree that anyone visiting the Happiest Place on Earth for the very first time MUST experience a buffet that includes lots of character interaction.

Chef Mickey’s is highly recommended by our DFB Readers!

But the suggestion is practical, too. Readers pointed out that a character dining experience offers terrific value for your Disney dollar, with an all-you-care-to-eat option.

A View of the Castle from Chef Mickey’s

And with the addition of characters, you have a less rushed (and air conditioned!) meet and greet opportunity that guarantees you’ll see lots of characters without waiting in long lines in the parks.

Also, don’t forget that Chef Mickey’s is walking distance from the Magic Kingdom. This is a great
place to start or end your Magic Kingdom day!

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland

Judging from the reader response, we’d say that Disney definitely hit the mark with one of its newest restaurants, Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Bridge Entrance

Set in Beast’s Castle (from Disney’s animated classic, Beauty and the Beast), the huge eatery is a counter service location for lunch and table service location for dinner (see our “Everything on the Menu!!” Review Here!).

Be Our Guest Restaurant Ballroom

The menu has a French flair — and chefs worked hard to create tasty, interesting meals for the younger set as well.

Be Our Guest Restaurant also has the distinction of being the first spot within Magic Kingdom where guests could order beer and wine (this has since been expanded to a variety of locations around the park!). It was the French-inspired menu at Be Our Guest that prompted the change; the French are known for their wine pairings!

The Beast occasionally greets visitors in his study during dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Many guests celebrate special occasions at Be Our Guest Restaurant, and if that’s you, be sure to mention it to your server. He may actually bring you a celebratory taste of “The Grey Stuff” — mentioned by Lumiere in the film!

This cookies and cream panna cotta truly is “delicious!”

The Grey Stuff — It’s Delicious!

Guests seem to be loving this spot for many reasons, and Advanced Dining Reservations for dinner remain hard to come by.

While we’ve tasted just about everything here and agree that the food’s quite good, most of you especially love it for the incredible, immersive themeing. So, remember that even if you can’t get a reservation for dinner, you can still enjoy the restaurant itself — including getting a peek at all three dining rooms — if you dine here for a counter-service lunch!

braised pork — coq au vin at Be Our Guest Restaurant — for LUNCH!

Here’s a TIP: if at all possible, snag a table in the West Wing and keep an eye on the Prince’s portrait!

‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

The fan base for ‘Ohana in Disney’s Polynesian Resort came out loud and clear in support of their favorite restaurant.

We heard from lots of you that a Disney World vacation isn’t complete without least one meal here, with dinner enjoying the highest number of votes. (Though the delicious character breakfast featuring Mickey, Lilo, and Stitch is no slouch!)

‘Ohana Fire Pit

While ‘Ohana can be a little uneven at times in service and quality, we’ve heard from many of you lately that it’s back on top in both areas.

With a unique family-style feast of Polynesian-style “churrascaria” and a show kitchen that can’t be beat (all that meat!), first time visitors will walk away with an experience that is both unique and delicious.

And don’t forget to save room for one of the best desserts at Disney — Pineapple Coconut Bread Pudding with Bananas Foster Sauce!

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding at ‘Ohana

But another huge reason for the ‘Ohana love is the fantastic view of Magic Kingdom fireworks that you’ll have if you happen to time your dinner reservations just right. Between that and the bread pudding, you’ll be a Disney fan for life!

50s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

You had better eat those veggies and keep your elbows off the table! While DFB readers love good eats, fantastic themeing and engaging (sometimes downright cheeky) service also win big points. Many of our readers said that anyone venturing to Disney World for the first time must be sure to book a table at 50s Primetime Cafe.

50s Prime Time Sign

Located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this table service spot serves comfort food with a hearty helping of nostalgia. Tiny black and white TVs roll clips from old sitcoms as you feast on Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes or Chicken Pot Pie.

Don’t forget to ask for a “TV Table” when you check in!

Our TV Table at 50s Prime Time Cafe

Of course, we highly recommend you order our favorite Disney menu item of all time — the fried herb cheese appetizer! It was newly brought back to the menu after years away, and we couldn’t be happier!

Fried Herb Cheese

And ordering a drink from Dad’s Liquor Cabinet is a way fun bonus!

Dad’s Electric Lemonade

If you book a table, be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to explore all the fun decor here. It’s truly an amazing throwback to the mid-20th century.

And here’s a TIP: if you go to the restroom, be sure to note the color of the soap. After all, your “Cousin” (that’s your server) may ask to make sure you washed your hands! (If you’re a 50s Primetime newbie, be sure to read some of our favorite readers’ experiences here!)

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Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square

While some of you can’t wait to book a table with Mickey and Minnie, still others feel that the quintessential Disney dining experience is tied more to history and reliably good food.

Those were the top reasons why you cited Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom as a must do for your first timers dining list.

Liberty Tree offers an a la carte menu during lunch and a family style, all you care to eat affair at dinner, meaning that you can actually have two meals here and have completely different experiences.

Lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern offers pasta, sandwiches, this incredible Pot Roast (which my husband orders on every visit), and the to-die-for dessert — Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake!

Liberty Tree Tavern Pot Roast

Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake at Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom

But the dinner at Liberty Tree — basically a traditional Thanksgiving meal served family style has a big following, too!

Roast Pork, Turkey, and Beef with Cornbread Stuffing and Chutney at Liberty Tree Tavern

Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy

Throughout all of the many comments we received, there was another resounding suggestion: first timers must eat somewhere in Epcot’s World Showcase. One of your very favorite international-inspired spots is Via Napoli in the Italy Pavilion.

Via Napoli’s Pizza Ovens

And why not? A recent addition to the Italy Pavilion, Via Napoli offers some of the best pizza that we’ve had anywhere, ever (and especially at Disney!).

Pizzas are thin-crust and made with imported water to better reach the dough consistency you’d experience if you were dining right in Naples, Italy. Try the Italian Margherita, our favorite Quattro Formaggi, or one of the many other pizza options on the menu! And don’t forget to sample some of the amazing new beers that they are starting to feature here!

Via Napoli Pizza Margherita

Of course, pasta might also be your choice… Isn’t this gorgeous?!?

Candele from Via Napoli


We also love the setting, including the three enormous wood-burning ovens named after Italian volcanoes. You definitely won’t go wrong — food-wise — planning a meal here.

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness Resort

We were super excited to see that many of our readers loved and suggested Hoop De Doo Musical Revue Dinner Show at Ft. Wilderness as a favorite for first timers! We couldn’t agree more!

This classic “hootenanny” combines singing, dancing, and wacky comedy for 2 hours of family fun that will keep you rolling.

Napkin Twirling and other Audience Participation Will Occur

While you enjoy the entertainment, you’ll also be eating some delicious foods – Fried Chicken, Barbecue Ribs, plus yummy sides.

Hoop Dee Doo Revue Bucket of Fried Chicken

Grownups can also enjoy unlimited beer, wine, and sangria, and soft drinks are available, too. And be sure to save room for the awesome and delicious Strawberry Shortcake!

Strawberry Shortcake

Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, and/or Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Sometimes at Disney you need a little something different, and many DFB readers passionately avowed their love for the restaurants on property specializing in African flavors! But of all of them, Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge and Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom were your favorites.

Atmosphere and Buffet at Tusker House

With similar menus, you can’t go wrong by choosing one or the other of these buffet-style feasts.

Featuring African specialties like Quinoa Porridge, Bobotie, and beautiful pastries, breads, chutneys, and spreads, you’ll find a lot to tempt your taste buds. Check out our recent Tusker House Review for dozens of food photos!

Boma Breakfast Pastries

One point of distinction: if you’re looking for a character experience, choose Tusker House for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Characters do not make an appearance at Boma.

Goofy strikes at pose at Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Be sure to try the Jungle Juice, too!

Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot’s Canada

Many readers agreed that a first visit to Disney World should include a stop at one of the resort’s signature restaurants. While a few different spots were mentioned, Le Cellier in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion garnered the most buzz.

With some of the best steaks that we’ve ever tried, this spot wins rave reviews for its consistently good food and cozy setting. The service is often very good here as well.

Inside Le Cellier

Our favorite items here are the Poutine and Mushroom Filet with Risotto. But don’t take my word for it! There are plenty of options to sample.

Just remember, this restaurant is now a signature meal — which means 2 Disney Dining Plan credits and a hefty price tag for out of pocket payers — for both lunch and dinner.

Mushroom Filet Mignon with White Truffle Butter Sauce and Micro Chevril

And if dessert is on your radar, we are big fans of the Maple Crème Brûlée!

Maple Crème Brûlée

Les Halles Bakery in Epcot’s France

For your final food stop, First Timers, DFB loyal readers want to make sure you don’t miss out on one of Epcot’s newest stops, Patisserie Boulangerie Les Halles.

Les Halles

While there has been a bakery stop in the France Pavilion for quite some time, a recent upgrade to this super popular counter service eatery has resulted in some much-needed indoor seating, and more room for the lines (which can sometimes get quite long).

Les Halles Seating

There has also been an expansion to the menu. Now, in addition to pastries and sandwiches, you can enjoy many more soups and salads here as well.

Salads at Les Halles

It’s also a terrific stop for those who would like a gourmet coffee or glass of French wine. Check out an extensive Epcot Les Halles Review here!

Chocolate tart, creme brulee, strawberry tart.

Cinderella’s Royal Table

But we can’t wrap up our list without a nod to Cinderella’s Royal Table.

I mean, the castle is so iconic that it’s the Disney logo, for cryin’ out loud. And are you kidding me that there’s a restaurant in there, too???

Cinderella's Royal Table

Cinderella’s Royal Table

Personally, I think that a meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table has to be on the bucket list of every self-respecting Disney fan. How can you possibly go through your charmed Disney life without seeing inside those walls?

Dining Room Windows at Cinderella's Royal Table

Dining Room Windows at Cinderella’s Royal Table

Dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table ensures character interaction, too — a BIG plus for us. While you enjoy your meal, Cinderella’s princess friends meet and greet and take pictures and offer autographs. (Cinderella doesn’t actually mingle, but you have a chance to meet her before you’re seated.)

Snow White is Just One of the Princesses You Might Encounter at Cinderella's Royal Table

Snow White is Just One of the Princesses You Might Encounter at Cinderella’s Royal Table

In the past, the food here was considered largely overpriced and forgettable. But in the last few years, that has changed a little. We’re seeing more updates on the lunch and dinner menu as chefs are steered by seasonal ingredients and hot food trends.

Roasted Chicken

Roasted Chicken

And breakfast has been the sweetspot here for a long time — especially the Pastries and the Stuffed French Toast, which changes up now and then.

The characters and ambiance are still the big draw. But chances are nowadays, you’ll enjoy your meal here as well.

And Now It’s YOUR Turn to Share Your Suggestions!

And there you have it! Our DFB Readers’ suggestions for the Disney restaurants that you simply must try on your first visit to Walt Disney World! It’s a big list to be sure, so we recommend taking a few of these picks and incorporating them into your plans. Or, if you’re anything like us, just try them all!

We’d like to thank you for stopping by and making all sorts of fantastic recommendations. And while we couldn’t list them all, we really appreciate all of your input!

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What are your favorite recommendations for a first time diner at Disney? Leave a comment below and let us know!


  1. Rune says

    Glad Boma made the cut, we only discovered it last year and it’s already one of our favourites.

    It’s an obvious one I know but breakfast at Crystal Palace early enough before park opening to be able to walk up Main Street before the crowds is a a really hard to beat first time experience finished off by a tasty breakfast buffet (puffed French toast & breakfast lasagna included) with views on the castle and then straight out into the park itself!

    Sunshine Seasons for more casual fare in Epcot and the all-important something for everyone in the family (am I alone in wishing they did plastic cheese over here? =P )

    And if you’re wandering Downtown Disney and don’t want to splurge too much, it’s gotta be Wolfgang Puck’s Express! Great food, great value!

    I was going to add Ghiradelli’s at DtD too, ice cream is a meal, right?

  2. Frank says

    Wow, is this a subjective concept. Really depends on tastes.
    I would include Beaches & Cream. Who doesn’t like a good burger and ice cream.
    Flying Fish. Great steaks and seafood, so is should satisfy a lot of palates.
    Park food….humm…Brown Derby at MGM, er DHS…old habits die hard!!
    Epcot is a very tough choice. I’d would recommend Germany and/or Chef’s de France. You can get Mexican, Italian and Japanese in some way shape or form in almost any city.
    Magic Kingdom.. wow that’s a tough one. Be Our Guest would be the one to try if you can get in. ADR’s are hard to come by and the line for lunch is really long, but in an ideal world, it’s the place to try.
    Animal Kingdom.. I really don’t go often enough to recommend.
    My favorite breakfast would be at Fresh Mediterranean Market in the Dolphin. I’ve tried a lot of places, but the food there never disappoints. Character breakfast would be Cape May. I am a bit biased over the Beach Club.
    Dessert… HAVE to try the new pastry shop in France.

  3. Amanda says

    I’m always surprised to see Chef Mickey’s on a list of recommended places to eat. The one time I ate there was the worst meal I’ve had at WDW. It was for breakfast and the food was bad. The service was horrible and the characters wanted to move from table to table as fast as possible. I actively tell people to avoid Chef Mickeys.

    If you have to do a character meal with Mickey, go to The Garden Grill. The food was delicious and the characters were delightful.

  4. says

    Great list, a lot of those we are dining at on our next visit, granted its our 5th time, still, great restaurants. Im a huge fan of the following:- Whispering Canyon, Raglan Road & Crystal Palace for that all important empty Magic Kingdom on your first morning. :-)

  5. says

    I haven’t been to Disney in a long time, but I still remember the 50’s style diner. My Grandfather didn’t eat his green beans….bad choice! Next time I head down, one of those toffee pudding desserts is totally on the must have list.

  6. Raelynn says

    So many places still to try–a great reason for another trip! ;-) Last trip, hands-down our favorite meal was at 50s and it is all due to Cousin Dale-what a hoot! I honestly don’t remember what I eat that night. LOL

    And while the pizza isn’t Chicago style (i.e. the BEST), the eye candy–I mean waiters certainly made Via Napoli a pleasant dining experience. :-)

  7. Debbie V. says

    Our experience having 9am breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table was so memorable in 2011. I totally recommend this to first timers. It is a signature/2 meal plan item.
    You are announced as you enter “Lord and Lady so-and so”. You have your picture taken with Cinderella – later receiving a free 8×10 in a souvenir folder.
    The princesses come to each table and spend a few minutes at each- taking pictures, visiting, etc – even for 60 year old adults :)
    Breakfast was delicious and filling – I had some kind of bread pudding french toast with a whole berry topping and bacon. Meal includes large individual fresh fruit cup, fresh orange juice and endless plate of danish, coffee, milk, etc.
    We sat next to the window looking out over Fantasyland, looking forward to our day.
    I’m going to have a hard time not doing this again on our next visit.

  8. Debbie V. says

    Oh and I forgot to mention – about the 9am Cinderella’s Royal Table – you are allowed to enter the park early (it opens at 9) and walk down Main Street while it is still relatively empty. There was a great Photopass photographer who took his time getting a great picture of us on Main Street with the castle in the background. We ended up purchasing this one photo in the end.

  9. Katie says

    I agree that Be Our Guest is the best! It has the best theming in all of WDW! Although, the lines to get in could put a damper on your first visit, so I would suggest as a second option, Casey’s corner or Sleepy hollow for lunch. The food is great and it is a relatively relaxing experience.

  10. Lisa says

    Such a great idea! Now, let’s see a list of snacks first-timers should be sure to grab!

  11. Sarah says

    This is such a great list and a great variety. Definitely think that 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian for character breakfast should be on the list. This was my favorite place to go as a kid and just as good now that I’m an adult. Seriously, seeing little kids with Mary Poppins is the cutest thing ever! and getting to enjoy massive amounts of bacon? win

  12. Joy O says

    I think I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Contemporary Grille to first timers looking for a unique experience. Unrivaled views, coupled with great food and Wishes from the terrace. Great way to start or end a first visit to the World. If the service wasn’t so scattered – I would say Coral Reef is a great experience and unique to the World as well. I must agree with O’Hana on the official list and with readers comments – here here for Brown Derby (classic!) and Sunshine Seasons! I am actually taking first timers a week from today – and one must do is a Pineapple Dole Float on the bridge in front of the castle watching Wishes. How’s that for a “place to eat”?!

  13. Frankie says

    I would have included the Coral Reef, it’s a unique setting and really good quality food. It busts the myth for first-timers that Disney food will be all characters and burgers.

  14. Wendy says

    Amanda, I totally agree with you on Chef Mickey’s and Garden Grill. We’ve had dinner only at Chef Mickey’s, and the only good part of the meal was being able to go to Contempo Cafe to get a cupcake ‘to go’. The reason we continue to eat at Chef Mickey’s is to see Minnie at dinner. We usually stay at French Quarter, and hiking to the Minnie breakfast at the Beach Club is too far.

    My husband enjoys Disney, but isn’t quite as passionate about it I am (although he is coming around). The key to get him to do anything is to promise him lots of delicious food. Our very fist character meal at WDW was at Garden Grill. We arrived from California the day prior, and everyone was jetlagged and hungry after our first day at Epcot. We sat down at a comfy table, my husband had a cold beer and ate through 2 platters of food (one platter is meant to serve an entire family!). He even ate the berry buckle, and he normally won’t touch berries with a ten foot pole! The characters came to our table multiple times and played with our kids for several minutes. We’ve been back to WDW twice more this year, each time my husband wanted to be sure we ate at Garden Grill. Awesome food and awesome experience for the whole family!

  15. says

    As I read over the list, it definitely contains places I would have suggested. I would have added Boma, at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, La Hacienda de San Angel – though it’s more for atmosphere than the food, Whispering Canyon Cafe at The Fort Wilderness Lodge and the food court at the Polynesian (the BBQ sandwich there is crazy good!). But by far, O’hana is always my favorite…though Boma does run a close second.

  16. CraigInPA says

    Shocked, Shocked, that you would include a has-been like LeCellier as a suggestion for a first timer! It was a great value before they went signature, if you could stand the dungeon-like atmosphere, the closely spaced tables leaving no privacy, and the inept wait staff. But, having gone signature pricing, with no changes, it’s now at the bottom of the signature restaurants, and likely to stay there. Foodies and those wanting a more upscale dining experience go to signature restaurants. People from these groups are highly likely to be disappointed with a LeCellier experience.

    If you are on the DDP, desire a signature experience, and are in Epcot, there are several great choices just a short walk away (Yachtsman, Flying Fish, Monsieur Paul). If you’re near the MK, Citricos, Narcoossee’s, Artist Point, and California Grill are all very highly rated. In DHS, there’s Hollywood Brown Derby. By AK, there’s Jiko. All of these deliver on the full signature experience with beautiful atmosphere, attentive wait staff, and well presented and flavorful cuisine.

  17. says

    I agree “Be Our Guest” should be on this list. But most first timers don’t know about how important ADR’s are. I am not a first timer and have already booked our ADR’s for our Sept trip. I tried to book a dinner at Be Our Guest at exactly 180 days and there were no reservations left. Any suggestions?

  18. Jen says

    Love every suggestion on here (and these all make our list), only place missing that is a must in our opinion would be Beaches, you can’t go to Disney without a stop here for ice cream and that incredible grill cheese/tomato soup combo!

  19. says

    We went to Disney in January…none of us our first time ever but first time as parents with our kids. It was such a great trip and I followed your blog all year before we went and found some super stellar places to eat thanks to you. Our 2 favorites were and have recommended to a few first timers:
    1. Sunshine Seasons in Epcot – I had the Thai Pork Sandwich – wish I would have taken pictures…the BEST sandwich I’ve ever had, still dream about it.
    2. Pecos Bill in Magic Kingdom – Frontierland. We all had excellent food and it was away from the main street crowd. There was quite the variety.

  20. Frank says

    People in general seem to LOVE O’Hana’s. I’m curious as to what the draw is??? I went years ago and wasn’t that impressed, but at Disney, I ALWAYS keep an open mind to restaurants. I’m seriously curious as to the appeal. I may have to try it again.

  21. Christy says

    So many excellent choices, and for a number of different reasons. Above all the food and service should all be excellent, my picks are

    • Characters: Crystal Palace with Pooh and friends put out a great afternoon spread — relaxed atmosphere and a character parade; each table getting quality time with the 100 Acre Wood bunch (go between 2-5pm to get the most time and attention). Cinderella Castle has a wonderful warm atmosphere (how can you beat dining in the castle?), very magical indeed.
    • Unique View: Coral Reef @ Epcot, preferably sitting in the middle area so you’re close enough to see all the marine life in the huge aquarium, but not so close that you’re craning your neck to get a good view.
    • Delicious: Eating inside the country pavilions @ Epcot has always proven a wise choice for us. Norway, China, Mexico, Japan, Italy. On our latest trip we tried the new Italian restaurant Tutto Italia and (having been to the real thing several times) I can report it was quite authentic and worth every penny.
    • For Fun: have a turkey leg @ MK.
    • Fighting the Cranks: Cosmic Rays, Pecos Bills, and Pinocchio Village Haus @ MK for your easy quick service fair that will slow you down, refill your tank, cool you off, and help dodge the tantrums.

  22. Debbie V. says

    We stayed at the Polynesian Resort – and had a reservation at Ohana’s for an evening meal and it was very crowded. My husband did not like it at all – it felt like we were just jammed in too close together. Considering it was not a crowded time at the resort in general – I was surprised.
    The food was good but it just seemed like it was being shoved at us…the staff was very busy.
    Since I had read so many good reviews – I was disappointed. I would be willing to give it another try, but I’m sure my husband would not.
    We had eaten at Kona as well and the tables were also close – but not the frenzied feeling as at Ohana. A

  23. Kelly says

    My family loves going to the Biergarten in Epcot Germany. I love the food there and the desserts are awesome. We also have never needed ADR’s. You get too see an oompah band and the cast members are very friendly. Another place in Epcot that I love to eat at is Sunshine Seasons. I know it’s a cafeteria but there is so much to choose from and it’s delicious.

  24. Amy says

    I agree with all on Crystal Palace in MK, but in Epcot I have to say I really enjoy The Rose & Crown Pub. That is one of my favorite places to go, Epcot has the best overall dining. I do love the 1900 park fare at the Floridian, it is great for Breakfast with the best orange juice around, and dinner is just as good, we loved them both

  25. Eric says

    We have been going with our 19yo daughter, every year since she was 3yo, and glad to see that two of our favorite places are on the list: Boma, and Chef Mickey. We only go to Chef Mickey for dinner, and yes I agree, the food isnt the quality of the before mentioned Boma, but it has a history for us…every year we have attended, and have pictures of our daughter waiving the napkin in the air for every visit. It’s a great photo collection. Boma is amazing for ambiance and food. Would never miss it. Others on our list: Wolfgang Puck Counter Service, Flaming Tree BBQ, Crystal Palace for early bfast, Morocco table service, Victoria and Alberts.

  26. Emily says

    For a very friendly meal with great food, I would recommend Olivia’s at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. The pot roast is so tender and flavorful; although, it is not always available. Everything else we have ordered has also been outstanding including the banana bread pudding and the salted caramel cheesecake. The prices are good too, and, as a bonus, we have never had to wait for a table, and we have been numerous times.

  27. Mishia Woodruff says

    I’m surprised Crystal Palace wasn’t brought out as much. It’s a wonderful spot to visit Winnie the Pooh and his friends and get really enjoyable food. Service in all of the years we have been going to MK and Crystal Palace is always “magical” .
    For those that are health conscious and need something “weighty” but not full of calories and NOT rabbit food..Cosmic Rays has the best-ever rotisserie Chicken!! This has to be my most favorite place (outside of character dining) to eat!!And please be sure to check out Pecos Bills…These places (Pecos Bills and Cosmic Rays) are affordable and def. share worthy plates…will help those trying to save a few pennies. And..with the money you save you will be able to dine with Winnie and friends!! ;0) It never hurts to eat (share) a Turkey Leg either..p.s. They are now 10.00 a leg! So my suggestion is to share!!

  28. Emily says

    Hi Fellow Disney Loves!

    My Tops:

    EPCOT: Quick Service: The Lands Sit Down: Tepan Edo (Japan) – It’s always left off the lists of favorites and it is my absolute!

    MK: Quick Service: Pinnochios, Tortuga Tavern Sit Down: Liberty Tree Tavern

    Hollywood Studios: Quick Service: Starring Rolls Cafe Sit Down: TBD

    Animal Kingdom: Quick Service: Flame Tree BBQ Sit Down: TBD

    A few other goodies include: Boma, Tutto Italia, & The Wave (Contemporary)

  29. Cindi says

    I agree, we loved Boma, Le Cellier, 50’s Prime Time, and Liberty Tree Tavern. We also would return to California Grill, Captain’s Grille, Boatwrights, Akershus, and Rose & Crown Dining. We did not care much for Via Napoli as it was too noisy and we could barely hold a conversation and the food wasn’t that outstanding for both the wait and the noise. It wasn’t bad by any means, the candele pasta was fine and but mom didn’t like the bechamel sauce, and and the melon proscioutto (sp?) pizza wasn’t very good considering it was basically a plain cheese pizza that they cooked first and then all the toppings went on so the meat was cold and I didn’t like it. I ended up picking it all off. The desserts were fine too but not quite on par with Olive Garden. I would have much preferred the Olive Garden chain, sadly, so it is the only one we voted a DNR (do not return). Le Chefs de France was a winner too and we loved the French onion soup. Seeing Remy during the meal was a bonus!

  30. Lisa says

    Our favorites this past trip were Teppan Edo in Epcot- DELICIOUS! and Tony’s Town Square in Magic Kingdom. Our favorite character breakfast is at Chef Mickey’s and we really enjoyed Coral Reef in the past.

  31. daffystardust says

    I’m only going to cover the parks.

    Magic Kingdom-
    Lunch: Liberty Tree Tavern
    Dinner: Be Our Guest
    Snack: a Dole Whip float at Aloha Isle on your way out of the park.

    Lunch: San Angel Inn
    Dinner: Chefs de France
    (My personal taste runs to Restaurant Marrakesh, but many won’t agree and it’s a lot easier to traverse the park with the above pair informing your path.)

    Disney Hollywood Studios-
    Lunch: 50s Prime Time Cafe
    Snack: a shake at Sci-Fi Dine-In (NOT lunch or dinner)
    Dinner: Hollywood Brown Derby

    Animal Kingdom-
    Lunch: Tusker House
    Dinner: Yak & Yeti

  32. Sheilla says

    We weren’t in love with Via Napoli. I’d love to see a similar list for Disneyland.

  33. Galloping Gourmand says

    I’m going into this assuming that Disney newbies want to hit rides as much as the food. My goal is to strike a balance with ride location and dining experience in each park.

    Breakfast at the Main Street Bakery. It’s a great place to get some big, filling continental style food on the way to hit the rides early.
    Lunch at Columbia Harbor House. Go early or late around 11 or 2 so the line is shortish. It’s at a great location, the food is excellent for counter service, and the location is right near major attractions. Get a seat upstairs near a window on on the bridge for a fantastic view.
    Dinner at Be Our Guest. I haven’t gone there yet, but everything I hear is that it’s the best sit-down meal in MK by far.

    Breakfast at Sunshine Seasons. Wonderful selection and you pick up your FP for Soarin’ or eat after riding.
    Lunch at Biergarten. Easy to get a reservation, good entertainment, nice and quick meal but still fun.
    Dinner at Chefs De France. I think it’s a better value than Le Cellier. The food is top notch and the view of the WS promenade is great from almost anywhere in the restaurant.

    I have to go… will finish the list tomorrow.

  34. Marc says

    Unfortunately most of the ones on the list unless you know about ADR’s and as a newbie most likely you’re not, good luck getting in. Here’s my recommendations for each meal:

    Breakfast – Ohana’s. Yes, Ohana’s is up there but for dinner but just an honorable mention for breakfast. Ohana’s is my favorite character meal for a few reasons – the food comes to you unlike other character meals, it is scrumptious, the kids have fun, and it is easy to get to MK or EP from there.

    Lunch – Flame Tree BBQ. To me this is a Disney must-do. The food portions are good, there is no reservations needed, the outdoor seating area is relaxing even with Donald’s distant relatives begging for food (adds to the charm), and the bbq sauce is amongst the best I’ve had. We usually get the BBQ meals and a fruit platter to share and there is never an unhappy camper in the midst.

    Dinner – Paradiso 37. This is our favorite restaurant in WDW and everyone we have sent there has left ecstatically happy. We eat outside, listen to the band play, have the cool air off the river relax us, watch our young ones dance to the music…it is probably the best hidden gem in Disney and it is hidden in plain sight. Oh yeah, the food ain’t too bad either. Not too many meals I’ll splurge on but the surf and turf is that good. Not a huge portion but you won’t leave hungry. I’ll give honorable mention to Kona Cafe. Their teriyaki steak is a staple for my wife and others that I know. Afterwards head off to the beach and watch a movie then stick around for Wishes.

  35. Beth says

    While we’re not true Disney World Commandos (yet…), having been there 5 times enlists us in the Disney Reserves, I’m guessing!

    As the planner for our family, I’ve tried to visit as many different restaurants as possible. Our favorites, so far, include:

    Magic Kingdom:

    Breakfast – Main Street Bakery. DELICIOUS Cinnamon Rolls!
    Lunch – Columbia Harbor House. Awesome views, delicious food (don’t miss the upstairs seating!)
    Dinner – Be Our Guest. Ambiance, decor, food, service…everything! Make sure you greet the Master in his Library on the way out!

    Animal Kingdom:

    Breakfast – Kusafari Coffee Shop. Use your Snack Credit here for a delicious breakfast pastry.
    Lunch – Flame Tree BBQ. WONDERFUL BBQ!
    Dinner – Yak and Yeti. Even the counter service spot is delicious and filling.


    Breakfast – Boulangerie Patisserie. Another great spot to use a Snack Credit for a fantastic French pastry.
    Lunch – Tangierine Cafe. What can I say…fantastic in every way. BIG portions, delicious quality food, friendly service…wonderful.
    Dinner – LeCellier Steakhouse. The most delicious steak I’ve ever eaten. Be prepared for a LONG dinner experience. Took over 2 hrs., but totally worth it.

    Hollywood Studios:

    Breakfast – Starring Rolls. Chaotic lines, but excellent food!
    Lunch – Fairfax Faire. Yeah OK, I know…bad reviews most of the time, but when we went last year, we LOVED it! Ribs and chicken were excellent, on par with Flame Tree. Wonderful service and undercover seating.
    Dinner – Prime Time Cafe. Not for the food (was OK, nothing special), but for the experience!

    Honorable Mention: Breakfast at O’Hana! The character experience was THE BEST we’ve ever had. Characters came around at least 3 times to EVERY table. Food was fresh, delicious and on point! Pineapple bread and juice were to die for.

    Have fun and Dine On!

  36. Jenny says

    Here’s my list of first visit restraunt recommendations:

    – cinderellas royal table
    – Ohana
    – 1900 Park Fare
    – coral reef
    – whispering canyon
    – 50s prime time

  37. Beth in MI says

    I would say 1900 Park Fare or O’hana for breakfast. In the MK for lunch Columbia Harbour or Liberty Tree Tavern. I haven’t had the chance to eat at Be Our Guest yet but from everything I have seen it looks great so I would recommend it for dinner. In Epcot the Biergarten in Germany all the way for lunch and Coral Reef for dinner. In the Hollywood Studios I would say SciFi Dine in for the ambience only and 50’s Prime Time for dinner. Or you could do 50’s Prime Time for lunch and the Brown Derby for dinner. In the AK Flame Tree bbq for lunch and travel to Boma for dinner. In the resorts I would say Chef Mickeys for the fun value and the chance to wonder around the Contemporary not the food, O’hana, Whispering Canyon and the Hoop Dee Doo Revue. There are a lot of restaurants that I used to recommend but sadly they have gone down hill. How about that for a survey? Restaurants we used to love.

  38. samantha says

    Love that Liberty tree tavern and Via napolia are on this list. Its my Bfs first trip and these are the two places i have booked :)

  39. Galloping Gourmand says

    Ok, continuing:

    Remember, I’m going for a mix of places that allow good access to attractions for the first time visitor as well as a good menu and/or experience.

    Hollywood Studios – This is my least favorite park for food.
    Breakfast at Fairfax Fare. The crowd is at Starring Rolls. Here you can grab a pastry or cereal before or after you hit the two major attractions.
    Lunch at Studio Catering company. Good sandwiches and a fine location. Not much to say other than this is a solid counter-service place with lower crowds than the other places.
    Dinner at Brown Derby. You’ll pay through the nose, but the theme is pure old Hollywood and it’s a nice relaxing place. The menu has something for everyone.

    AK –
    Breakfast at the Tusker House for the Breakfast Safari Character Meal. It’s your standard Disney Breakfast Buffett yet often overlooked because people do their character dining at the MK or Epcot or Contemporary. Here you get Mickey, Donald, Minnie, Goofy.
    Lunch at Flame Tree. Try to get a seat with a view. It’s a solid bbq place.
    IF you have an early dinner, go to Yack and Yeti. Wonderful atomsphere.

    Other Picks:
    Monorail Line –
    Chef Mickey’s Breakfast
    Kona Cafe
    My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea for snack/special (that you really must do it’s a wonderful experiance)
    California Grill Dinner

    Crescent Lake
    Garden Grove Character Breakfast (weekends only) Less expensive than any other character breakfast and a great pot-luck of characters show up.
    Todd English’s Bluezoo and Cat Cora’s Kouzzina. Get some top notch food by nationally recognized celebrity chefs.
    Beaches and Cream for a sundae.

    Honorable Mention:
    Sana. Great food in a really special location. Be adventurous!

    Yikes, I spent a lot more time on this than I thought I would. Hope it helps someone.

  40. Kimmy says

    The Garden Grill definitely doesn’t get the credit it deserves. The food and service are great, and you see the characters without the “oh no Mickey is 6 tables down should I run to the buffet or wait” feeling most of us are familiar with. Just sit back and relax as the food and characters come to you. Plus slowly rotating over a ride is just awesome. This was definitely our favorite character meal and one we come back to on each Disney trip.

  41. Janelle says

    Whenever friends and family ask me for my opinion on dining choices, I always find out more about them first. Are they wanting to go to sit down meals or just get good counter service as they run from attraction to attraction. Is price a big issue, and do they want a meal experience. Also, I ask how adventursome they are with food. Then I go from there. If they want to try a little of both and as well be adventurous, here is what I say are my favorites:

    Must do:
    Tonga Toast at Kona Cafe in Polynesian as well as the best coffee on site.
    Hoop-De-Do-Musical-Revue at Fort Wilderness
    California Grill during fireworks if there for a special occasion
    Character meal (Garden Grill at Epcot, Crystal Palace at MK, or Tusker House breakfast at AK)

    Great counter service:
    Tangierine Cafe at Morroco Pavilion (Epcot)
    Raglan Road quick service at Downtown Disney (althrough restaurant great too)
    Columbia Harbor House at MK
    Flame Tree BBQ at AK

    Favorite sit down’s at each park:
    Magic Kingdom = Liberty Tree Tavern
    Epcot = Le Chef’s de France, Le Cellier or Akershus
    Hollywood Studios = Brown Derby or 50’s Prime Time Diner
    Animal Kingdom = Yak n’ Yeti
    Downtown Disney = Raglan Road or T-Rex

    Resort Favorites:
    Boma at AKL
    Grand Floridian Cafe
    Whispering Canyon Cafe at DWL
    Boatwrights at PO
    Cape May or Beaches and Cream at YC/BC

  42. Nancy says

    Hey! We’re heading to the World in June to celebrate the graduation of my sister and a very good friend of ours! Not only will it be the first time ever visiting the parks for our friend and myself, but it will also be my sister’s first time staying on resort property! So I guess that would definitely qualify us as newbies! We’re all super excited! Glad to see some of the restaurants on the list and also the suggestions in the comments section! We have ADRs for 1900 Park Fare, Liberty Tree Tavern, and Be Our Guest for dinner, as well as a lunch ADR for 50’s Primetime!

    84 days to go! =)

  43. angel says

    Surprised I didn’t see it listed but definitely The Rainforest Cafe ! The food is great and the atmosphere is incredible!!

  44. Emily says

    I’m surprised the Crystal Palace is not on the list we loved the food and who doesn’t love all the Winnie the Pooh characters?!?

  45. Mary says

    I love Ohana! Tepan Edo (I think I spelled that right) in EPCOT’s Japan is so much fun we loved it last time we went.

  46. Joy says

    Another wonderful character dining experience for first timers in 1900 Park Fare at The Grand Floridian.

    Breakfast is a wonderful buffet and experiences with Mary Poppins and friends, but dinner is our favorite. The food is incredible, and you’re character experience is the Cinderella cast. The step sisters and Lady Tremaine steal type show and looooove to interact with the tables… Cindy dances with her handsome prince and Daddy’s take their daughters and dance too.
    Truly magical!

  47. ReneeM says

    The German Buffet at Epcot! Always a favorite for us. We go everytime we are at Epcot.

  48. Carrie says

    I come from a Disney-loving family!
    My dad’s favorites are: Beaches and Cream at Yacht Club Resort, Artist’s Point at Wilderness Lodge, and the Liberty Tavern at MK.
    My brother loves California Grille on the top floor of the Contemporary – great menu and incredible views!
    I love the more casual French Restaurant at Epcot, the bakery in Norway (try the pretzals covered with Almonds), and both restaurants in Morocco.
    Dole Whips in AdventureLand are so refreshing, there is a great selection of fudge, cookies, etc. at the Villians gift shop at Disney Studios, and you can get a delightful glass of wine to go in France and Italy!
    If you end up with a meal that isn’t your favorite, just sit back and enjoy the atmosphere!

  49. Kristen says

    I have never eaten at a Disney restaurant that I didn’t like but my favorites are:

    Table Service
    The Garden Grill..It was so much fun. The characters spent a lot of time at our table and when they weren’t there, we could look at the scenery from the ride Living with the Land.

    Whispering Canyon…The food is amazing and the “entertainment” is hilarious. Make sure you ask for ketchup!!! Just saying.

    Counter Service
    La Cantina de San Angel…That is one of my 2 favorite counter service restaurants. Delicious food!!!

    Sunshine Seasons is also really yummy with lots of great choices.

    Word to the wise–If you want to go to a particular table service or character dining experience, make your reservations as soon as you make your reservations for your trip. The reservations go quickly!!! You can do this online now but if you are close to your travel dates, call the reservation hotline. The customer service reps are really helpful and can help you pick restaurants that would be good for your family and have openings. :)

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